Facebook is in search of a media industry big gun (with more than 20 years of experience) to lead its global news partnerships team.
According to the listing, Facebook’s head of news partnerships will serve “as the company’s leading representative with news organizations worldwide.” The company’s global news partnerships team, which includes former BBC journalist Patrick Walker and former New York Times reporter Nick Grudin (among others), will report to this individual.
“The goal of the news partnerships team is to help publishers and journalists understand how to reach and engage their audiences, and to innovate with new technologies,” claims Facebook.
In terms of existing projects the new exec could be charged with overseeing, the two initiatives that immediately stand out are Facebook’s fake content update and its Snapchat-esque content curation tool, dubbed “Collections.” It is becoming increasingly clear that the former is a product management issue, which Facebook aims to tackle using a News Feed algorithm that can automate the process of targeting unreliable — or spam — content. However, as Facebook has indicated in the past, it will seek the input of journalists (and third-party fact-checking organizations) in building the software. The new exec will therefore likely act as a go-between, with the goal of soliciting and incorporating “feedback from news organizations on product development,” claims Facebook.
Meanwhile, Facebook’s rumored “Collections” tool (thought to be a Snapchat Discover clone) will require new content providers, and the expansion of existing partnerships with the company’s media partners — the likes of CNN, BuzzFeed, and The New York Times already produce content for Facebook Live and Instant Articles. Both ventures will rely on the strong ties the individual will have gained from his or her decadeslong tenure in the news reporting industry.
Facebook declined to comment on the new position. Other social media companies boast similar executive roles. For example, Peter Greenberger serves as global director of news at Twitter, and Peter Hamby as head of news at Snap.